In the soul / the movements of temptation and refusal.
It's crunch time again for Mr. Matt, and I have been experiencing the disquieting feeling that there is literally nothing to which I am looking forward. For the last few days, nothing interests me; not my studies, not the future practice of law. It feels as if there is only the petty creep from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. I'm sure I am just overtired and overstressed.
Here's a thought for you:
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
and Yeats said:
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Is Hamlet right that conscience makes people cowardly and pensive? Is this why "the best lack all conviction?" There certainly seems to be a connection between the passionate intensity of the worst, and the feckless audacity of those who have no conscience.
Conscience stops us from doing bad things. I would hope that it also encourages us to do great things. However, I think conscience's most common manifestation is guilt, and guilt (Hamlet tells us) leads to indecision. Does anyone care to make the case for the virtue of conscience?